APRIL 26, 2016
Lauda, Wurz named as potential Ecclestone successors
F1 has entered an "important week", according to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
And he is not just talking about this weekend's Russian grand prix, the fourth round of the 2016 world championship.
Before the sport's major figures head to the resort city of Sochi for the Vladimir Putin-championed race, the F1 Strategy Group will get together at Biggin Hill, the Bernie Ecclestone-owned airport south of London.
The meeting is just a few days before the end-of-April deadline for the radical regulations changes of 2017.
Wolff is urging his F1 colleagues to consider scrapping the plans for faster cars.
"We have an important week ahead for the sport," he said in an official Mercedes preview for the Russian grand prix.
"After three grand prix weekends so far in 2016, we have seen that performance between the teams is converging to create great racing. Whether we have the reactivity as a group to recognise that and consider retaining a regulatory framework that is working well remains to be seen," added Wolff.
Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko, a proponent for change, has called Wolff's stance "paranoia" due to Mercedes' current position of dominance.
It is widely believed, however, that any move for a last-minute u-turn has come too late, especially given the way the voting processes of the Strategy Group and F1 Commission work.
"Is it really a democracy if one veto can cancel everything?" championship leader Nico Rosberg wondered as he spoke to Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
"Imagine, 27 men with 27 different interests at a table, with any one voice able to stop everything. It's just not practicable," he added.
Amid the political turmoil, the latest rumours are that the major manufacturers are plotting against F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
Germany's specialist Auto Bild claims that Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne's plan is for the 85-year-old to be replaced by a three-pronged group, featuring key legal and marketing representatives.
And a third figure would represent the sporting side, with Auto Bild saying GPDA president Alex Wurz, F1 veteran David Coulthard and Niki Lauda have all been mentioned as candidates, with the latter even prepared to give up his Mercedes roles.